Here’s Why Apple Pulled This Discovery Service From The App Store

According to mobile-intelligence firm Onavo, AppGratis is the most popular application discovery service on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. Onavo reports that AppGratis claimed 4.5 percent of the iOS market in February, up from just half a percent in December. This explosive growth to 12 million users helped put the company at the head of a long-running conversation about application discovery, which is a huge problem currently without any elegant solutions. AppGratis competes in a field populated by other services like AppsFire, App Trailers, and FreeAppADay. However, Onavo reports that at best these competitors have about half the iOS market share that AppGratis does, putting the budding curation service in a league of its own.

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As an app discovery service, AppGratis makes money by partnering with app developers to offer a one-day promotion of their product, not unlike a Groupon. TechCrunch reports that AppGratis has helped developers get as many as 1 million downloads during a successful one-day promotion, which is no small task.

Ostensibly, this should be a success story in the apps-discovery area. But the 45-person company hit a roadblock at the end of last week when Apple unexpectedly removed its app from the App Store. On Tuesday, CEO Simon Dawlat published a blog post outlining the situation…

To make a long story short, after an initial approval process and a few months on the iPhone App Store — as well as explicit approval of its app for the iPad — Apple pulled AppGratis for violating to guidelines. One, guideline 2.25, states that “apps that display apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.” The other, guideline 5.6, states that “apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.”

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AppGratis will continue to update for its current users, but when and if it will make a reappearance on the App Store remains unclear.

Here’s how Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traded Wednesday:

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